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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

Breaks Interstate Park - Virginia & Kentucky

Updated: Jan 27

Breaks Interstate Park is a bi-state state park located partly in southeastern Kentucky and mostly in southwestern Virginia, in the Jefferson National Forest, at the northeastern terminus of Pine Mountain. Rather than their respective state park systems, it is instead administered by an interstate compact between the states of Virginia and Kentucky. It is one of several interstate parks in the United States, but only one of two operated jointly under a compact rather than as two separate state park units. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Kentucky Department of Parks are still major partner organizations, however.

The Breaks is also referred as the "Grand Canyon of the South", through which the Russell Fork river and Clinchfield Railroad (now the CSX Transportation Kingsport Subdivision) run. It is accessed via highway 80 (Virginia 80and Kentucky 80), between Haysi, Virginia, and Elkhorn City, Kentucky, and passes through the community of Breaks, Virginia, east of the park.

This area was previously covered by a vast inland sea around 180 million years ago. Over subsequent millennia, the Russel Fork gradually carved through the rock to form the spectacular valleys which are seen today. Early human activity saw the area serve as hunting grounds for Shawnee and Cherokee people. In 1767, American frontiersman Daniel Boone passed through the area looking for an easier westward passage through Pine Mountain. Boone subsequently gave the area its current name, The Breaks.

Conversations/Things we learned:

If you are in the southwest Virginia area, this is a hidden gem. The park is a good location for hiking and picnicking. For those who have never seen the Grand Canyon, this park overlooks gives you some similarities of the depth of the Grand Canyon.

Contact Information:

627 Commission Circle

Breaks, VA 24607

Phone: (276) 865-4413




Video of overlook


Conference Center/Restaurant







Early Settlement Displays

Elk Tours


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